Economic news

Asian Shares Hit 5-mth Highs amid Hopes that Fed Hikes are Over

  • All eyes on ECB on Thursday and BOJ on Friday
  • Europe set for stronger open, Nasdaq futures up 0.6%
  • Dollar pressured in Asia, risk sensitive currencies jump
  • Treasury yields steady, oil prices higher

SYDNEY, July 27 (Reuters) - Asian shares jumped to five month highs on Thursday amid optimism the U.S. tightening cycle was over and the economy was heading for a soft landing, boosting the outlook for global growth and risk appetite generally.

Investors are now waiting for European Central Bank later in the day, which is also seen approaching the end of its tightening campaign, and the Bank of Japan on Friday, which is expected to maintain the ultra loose monetary policy.

The upbeat mood is set to extend to Europe, with EUROSTOXX 50 futures up 0.4% and FTSE futures rising 0.3%.

Nasdaq futures advanced 0.6%, helped by a 6.8% jump in Meta Platforms in after-hours trading. Facebook's parent company reported a strong rise in advertising revenue, topping Wall Street targets.

In Asia, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 1% to the highest in five months. Japan's Nikkei also advanced 0.7% to a three-week top.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rallied 1.4%, driven by a 4.9% surge in Chinese property stocks, as they extend a rebound from Monday when a top Politburo meeting fuelled hopes that more support to a battered sector is on the way.

Overnight, the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered a quarter-point rate hike as widely expected. Chair Jerome Powell in his press conference said the Fed no longer expects a recession.

"Even though the Fed has left the door open for an additional rate hike before the end of the year, we believe that we've now reached peak cycle – the Fed tightening cycle is done," said David Chao, a global market strategist at Invesco.

"We expect an increasing global risk appetite as markets continue to positively re-price recession risks, and ultimately look forward to and discount an economic recovery that could begin to unfold late this year."

Futures only imply a slim chance - about 20% - that the central bank could surprise with a quarter-point increase in September. They also moved to price in sizeable rate cuts of 125 basis points by the end of next year.

On Wall Street, stocks ended little changed after the Fed hike, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq closing lower, dragged down by mostly technology stocks.

The European Central Bank is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter-point on Thursday, but markets sense the end is also in sight, with at most one more hike expected after this week. However, the slow retreat in inflation could pile pressure on policymakers to keep rates higher and for longer.

Another major risk event this week is the Bank of Japan meeting on Friday amid jitters of more tweaks to its ultra loose monetary policy. The majority view is policymakers would hold steady, according to a Reuters poll.

The yen climbed to as high as 139.35 per dollar but last hovered near the 140 level. Overnight dollar/yen implied volatility jumped to 36.3%, the highest since March.

The U.S. dollar continued to be pressured in Asia, off 0.3% against a basket of major currencies . Both the risk-sensitive Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar were up 0.8%.

Treasury yields were mostly steady on Thursday. The yield on 10-year Treasury notes held at 3.8610%, after a drop of 6 basis points overnight, while the rate-sensitive two-year was little changed at 4.8329%, having also eased 7 bps.

Elsewhere, oil prices were higher. Brent crude futures were up 0.9% at $83.69 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 1% to $79.59.

Gold prices edged up 0.2% to $1,976.18 per ounce.

Reporting by Stella Qiu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Lincoln Feast

Source: Reuters

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